Senator Frank R. Lautenberg has introduced a bill to regulate chemicals in the US after a government report criticised current legislation for failing to protect Americans from toxic substances.
US Senator Frank R. Lautenberg introduced draft legislation aiming at better protecting children, mothers and workers against potentially hazardous chemicals.
Introduced on 13 July, the ‘Child, Worker and Consumer Safe Chemicals Act’ is largely inspired by the hotly debated EU proposal for the registration, evaluation, and authorisation of chemicals (REACH) now at final stage of adoption before the European Parliament.
The draft US bill would force chemical manufacturers to provide health and safety information on chemicals used in consumer products like baby bottles and food wrapping instead of presuming a substance is safe until proven dangerous.
The principle, know as the reversal of the burden of proof, is the cornerstone of REACH.
Senator Lautenberg’s proposal follows the publication in June of a US federal report detailing the failures of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in protecting Americans from hazardous chemicals.
The report, by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), recommended that the US congress consider providing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with additional authority to assess chemical risks.
According to Lautenberg, procedures under the TSCA are so daunting that, in 29 years, only five toxic substances have been regulated by the EPA. Currently, the EPA has to demonstrate a chemical poses an “unreasonable risk” to restrict or ban it.